HEALTH

Poll gauges women’s brand loyalty

BY Michael Johnsen

YONKERS, N.Y. According to a new poll released Monday that will be featured in the November 2008 issue of ShopSmart, a publication of Consumer Reports, women are willing to switch brands of over-the-counter medications (68 percent), milk (67 percent) and eggs (67 percent) to save money, but only 29 percent say they would change their brand of pet food.

Now, more than last year, 29 percent of respondents say that they’re buying more generic or store brands; in households with kids the number is 37 percent.

Women are also reluctant to switch cosmetics (30 percent), personal-care items (48 percent) and toilet paper (49 percent).

The poll also found that when it comes to shopping for new appliances, 27 percent of women say that reliability is the most important consideration while the brand falls well behind the other factors in determining which appliance to purchase at 4 percent. However, women are not willing to sacrifice brand name to save money on appliances as only 38 percent of women said they would purchase a lesser known brand to save money.

“We were surprised to find that women are so readily willing to switch medications,” stated Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “However, I am happy to see that women value reliability over brand when it comes to large purchases such as appliances.”

Conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, the brand loyalty poll is part of ShopSmart’s feature on the best and worst brands, which includes a guide to which types of products are most likely to need repairs, information about whether an appliance is worth repair or should be replaced instead and tips to maintain appliances to avoid costly repairs.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. As many as 1,006 interviews were completed among women over the age of 18. Interviewing took place between June 26 and June 29.

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Herb Baer named chief marketing officer of Water-Jel

BY Michael Johnsen

CARLSTADT, N.J. Water-Jel Technologies last week named Herb Baer its new chief marketing officer and vice president, consumer sales, the company announced Friday.

“We created this new position to help drive the growth we foresee in both existing and new channels,” stated Water-Jel president Michael Pisani. “Baer’s new goals are to set the direction for Water-Jel’s go-to-market strategies, increase brand and product awareness and develop and market new products through the industrial and retail channels.”

Water-Jel Technologies provides Emergency Medical Services, Industrial Safety professionals and the United States Military with emergency first aid burn care products. In addition to the company’s burn care line, Water-Jel markets WATER-JEL Burn Jel Plus and other burn products as well as Kidz Health Children’s Adhesive Bandages, and licensed character personal toiletry products to consumers through a variety of drug and national discount stores.

Baer has two decades of experience with Fuji Photo Film USA, where he held vice-president level marketing and sales roles across a wide section of channels.

Baer earned his Bachelors degree in Economics and Human Kinetics from Rutgers University and his Masters degree in Sports Management from Adelphi University.

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Survey finds nearly half of Americans have trouble living healthy

BY Michael Johnsen

ADA, Mich. While 93 percent of Americans report attempting to make everyday choices to be healthy and live well, nearly half (47 percent) struggle to do so, according to the Amway Global Wellness Index, a recent national survey of more than 15,000 Americans regarding their health and wellness.

The two main barriers that prevent people from living a healthier lifestyle are lack of time (39 percent) and the rising cost of a balanced diet (21 percent). The top three wellness challenges, according to survey respondents, are getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep and maintaining a well-balanced diet.

Forty-two percent of Americans report that the economy is having a negative impact on their wellness choices, and personal wellness issues will affect the results of the election. In fact, 33 percent of Americans claim that the candidates’ positions on personal wellness will influence how they vote this election. Current economic conditions appear to have a greater impact on the unemployed, with the wellness of 51 percent of non-working parents negatively impacted, versus 43 percent of working parents. According to survey respondents, the health decisions of women are affected more by the economy than men (44 percent versus 40 percent, respectively).

While Americans say getting enough exercise is the most challenging part of living a healthy life (38 percent), only 24 percent believe regular exercise at least three days per week is the most critical aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep is reported as the second greatest challenge (34 percent), with eating a well-balanced diet (25 percent) coming in third. Four in 10 (43 percent) aged 55 and older claim to struggle with making healthy choices, compared to 48 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds and 50 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds.

Despite a national push to make better wellness choices, Americans are sedentary the survey found. The survey shows more than one in five (23 percent)—or close to 51.7 million people—are not exercising for at least 30 minutes or more at a time on a regular basis.

According to the Amway Global Wellness Index, perception and reality don’t seem to align when it comes to weight. Forty-five percent of Americans consider themselves obese or overweight, yet the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that an estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese (2003-2004 study). Only four percent of people perceive themselves as obese, while in actuality, more than one-third of U.S. adults were obese in 2005/2006, according to the CDC. A higher proportion of American parents (45 percent) report being overweight than do non-parents (34 percent). Further, half of those Americans who feel the economy is having a negative impact on their wellness choices consider themselves obese or overweight.

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